There is a clearly defined theme to this year’s show: Self Unself. The theme is also being researched at another location in the city: the Van Abbemuseum. In both venues, creative director Thomas Widdershoven is asking visitors to explore the tensions between ‘I’ and ‘we’ in contemporary design. What is the role of the individual in the work of the latest generation of designers, and how do they value the collective?
Design Academy Eindhoven graduates are presenting designs to help people: Luc van Hoeckels ‘Single Spark’ offers Ugandan war victims increased independence with a do-it-yourself package to produce things like bread or ointments. Other projects show much more of its designer's identity. Willem van Doorn has returned to the farm where he grew up to explore the possibilities for generating energy from waste and used materials, and become self-sufficient. It has resulted in ‘Illumination By Digestion’. Every design has its own balance between ‘I’ and ‘we’.
Thomas Widdershoven, creative director of DAE, explains how he wants to research Self Unself in the Van Abbemuseum: “Out of all the work by Hella Jongerius, for instance, I am showing the work she did for KLM, because it marks a venture outside the realm of culture for her. I am curious to find out how much of herself she is sacrificing and how much of herself she is able to retain when working with a client who has such a strong identity.”